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Take a trip around Laguna with Kenny Roberts and a 500cc GP bike

With the plethora of cameras used in modern racing, this retro video of Kenny Roberts and a 500cc GP bike is a breath of fresh air

Kenny Roberts YZR500

IMAGINE rocking up to a track day with a 35mm movie camera strapped to the front and rear of your bike. That’s exactly what ‘King’ Kenny Roberts did in when he filmed for a rider’s eye view insight into the Laguna Seca GP circuit – and we’re so glad he did.

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The video is obviously not modern, although it is one of the few motorcycle videos that (amazingly) we’ve not seen before. In it, the three-time 500cc GP world champion hits the hallowed tarmac at Laguna aboard a two-stroke 500cc grand prix bike, giving an insightful voice over to the video to boot.

There are many breath-taking moments in the video, but aside from the engine noise, something that alone makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, it’s the amount of time that Kenny spends off the throttle, waiting for the moment to unleash the power with the fickle and hard to ride YZR500.

Kennt Roberts onboard Yamaha 500cc GP at bike Laguna Seca video

It’s like he’s waiting, poised even, while the engine and brakes try their best to gobble up some of the speed he’s attained down the straights, before unleashing the 170bhp machine onto the next straight. It’s also worth remembering, the video is not shot on the modern, twisting Laguna layout. This is the faster, more demanding, and dangerous high-speed course from year’s gone by.

Kenny Roberts YZR500

Another item to note is the tripod structure that is strapped to the front and rear of the machine. It’s fully visible in the video (watch the shadows when he corners!) and clearly shows a full-sized film camera mounted at both ends of the bike!

If all the tech filming stuff is a bit too much, play the clip, listen to the engine, and enjoy an era of grand prix motorcycle racing that is very sadly gone.